Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reading Envy 122: A Cylon Raider Shaped Hole in Your Heart

Sara joins me to chat books from a tropical location, where we talk about books that capture the hospitality industry, fight about space battles, agree about World War II books, and talk about translated works.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 122: A Cylon Raider Shaped Hole in Your Heart

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Books Discussed:



Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Sam Taylor
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Chi-Young Kim
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler


Other Mentions: 

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof
Battlestar Gallactica (tv series)
Caprica (tv series)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)
Man Asian Literary Prize
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang
The White Book by Han Kang
Tilted Axis Press (Deborah Smith)
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl 
My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
Insatiable by Gael Greene
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann 
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett


Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Sara is @addendumadventure on Instagram

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Review: Tonight I'm Someone Else: Essays

Tonight I'm Someone Else: Essays Tonight I'm Someone Else: Essays by Chelsea Hodson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Last week, I decided my friend, Erik, was both beautiful and impossible, and I felt it save my life in a way."

Okay friends, I'm going to say some honest things about this book, because I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review. That quote I used up there is not from final copy so it may not appear as written exactly but I wanted to pull out something to use as an example.

How did you react to that quote? I predict that your overall feelings about this book will have a lot to do with your reaction to the quote. If you felt a resonance with it, you are probably younger than me and this book will be a great read for you and where you are in your time of life. If you rolled your eyes at it, hang on because most of the book is a lot like that, and you are likely not to warm to the navel-gazing essays of this book. I'm almost 40; I felt too old. I remember feeling similar to how she feels in some of this, in other ways I'm of a different generation that was never so willing to give up independence to feel emotionally manipulated by people who don't deserve that power. I think I learned earlier to see people from their perspective instead of only from my own.

So there are individual essays except for me they bleed together quite a bit. Throughout the pieces, the author is referencing someone who she can't let go of, to ruminate (again) about a memory or a feeling, longing for them and wondering about them. There is a lot about finding identity and a place by subverting expectations. There also seems to be a theme of the pursuit of the feeling of complete and utter freedom or abandon, which could also be seen as ultimate selfishness (nobody knows where she has gone) or ultimate recklessness (nobody knows where she is!).

So, I gave this three stars. I felt like the book wasn't for me. But I can see how others might really like it, and for those readers, I would highly recommend it.

Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this title. I discussed it on a book speed dating bonus episode of the Reading Envy Podcast, where I did say I liked it enough to finish it, which I did. This book came out June 5, 2018.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Reading Envy 121: Love, Lust, Loss, and Longing

This is Casey's first time as a guest on the podcast, although his voice may sound familiar from the Best of the Year episodes. Our original conversation was over three hours long, so Jenny is hoping the holes aren't super obvious, but that you enjoy our chat about northern lit and what we look for in books.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 121: Love, Lust, Loss, and Longing.

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Books Discussed:



I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
Jaws of Life by Laura Leigh Morris
Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

Picture of the carving Casey mentions:



Other Mentions: 

Kwakiutl, self-name Kwakwaka'wakw
Frank Muller, audiobook narrator 
The Home Front by Margaret Craven
One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Richard Proenneke
Waterland by Graham Swift
Iris Murdoch
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Downton Abbey (tv series)

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Scott McClanahan
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, 2018 West Virginia episode
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Related episodes:
Episode 070 - Words Like Weapons with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 105 - Best Reads of 2017 


Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Friday, June 1, 2018

Books 124-142 of 2018

Pictured: 5-star reads



124. Two from the Far North by Margaret Murie **** (borrowed copy; my review)
125. Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel ***** (review audiobook; my review)
126. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
127. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson ***** (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
128. The Heart by Maylis de Kerengal **** (library book; my review)
129. Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff **** (personal eBook copy; my review)
130. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler **** (personal copy; my review)
131. So Lucky by Nicola Griffith ***** (review copy eBook; my review)
132. Mating in Captivity by Helen Zuman *** (review copy eBook; my review)
133. Three Sides Water by Peter Donahue **** (review copy eBook; my review)
134. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett *** (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
135. Tin Man by Sarah Winman ***** (review copy eBook; my review)
136. Trash Mountain by Bradley Bazzle **** (review copy eBook; my review)
137. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell **** (library book; my review)
138. Circe by Madeleine Miller ***** (personal copy; my review)
139. Standing at the Edge by Joan Halifax **** (review copy eBook; my review)
140. American Hippo by Sarah Gailey ***** (review copy eBook; my review)
141. Spy of the First Person by Sam Shepard **** (library copy; my review)
142. Unlearning to Fly by Jennifer Brice **** (borrowed copy; my review)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Reading Envy 120: Summer Reading - Challenges, My List, and Speed Dating.

I decided to record a bonus episode. Inside I'll talk about the Reading Envy Summer Reading Challenges, and give you some suggestions of books for those. I'll talk about books in a few categories for more general summer reading, a list if you will, and then move into the third round of book speed dating for 2018. Some of the books mentioned are backlisted titles, while others might not come out until June 2018, or in one tiny case, August.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 120: Summer Reading - Challenges, List, and Speed Dating.

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Challenges: Reading Envy Picnic and Reading Envy Roadtrip


Books Discussed:

Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter’s Shore by Ken McAlpine
Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky
Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey through Chile by Sara Wheeler
Thrilling Cities by Ian Fleming
A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo and Book Lovers Everywhere by Alison Walsh
The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge
The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
Super Sushi Ramen Express by Michael Booth

Even more recommended foodie memoirs

Summer Reading List:


Canada and Alaska
The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban
Home to Woefield by Susan Juby
Miriam Toews
Lynn Coady
Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson
Alaska by James Michener
Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey


The New Western is Female
West by Carys Davies
American Hippo by Sarah Gailey
Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco



Light reads, funny reads
Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman
Less by Andrew Greer
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett



Prairie Reading
(forget beach reading!)
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller
The Prairie Trilogy by Willa Cather
The Dry by Jane Harper
The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America by Sarah Kendzior
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich


Translated fiction
Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf
Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour
Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Leger
August  by Romina Paula
The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante


Speed Dating Round 3



Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership by Michael Ventura 
Sisters’ Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud
Sexographies by Gabriela Wiener, translated by Jennifer Adcock and Lucy Greaves
Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie Rosenbloom
Tonight I’m Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson
The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
The Waters & The Wild by DeSales Harrison
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
An Intentional Life: Five Foundations of Authenticity and Purpose by Lisa Kentgen


Related Episodes:

Episode 024 - The Attention of Humanity with guests Seth Wilson and Barret Newman 
Episode 067 - Rain and Readability with Ruth(iella) Episode 095 - Lose the Outside World with Lindy Pratch
Episode 096 - Not Without Hope with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 110 - The Accidental Love Episode with Casey Stepaniuk
Episode 113 - Speed Dating 2018, round 1
Episode 117 - Speed Dating 2018, round 2
Episode 119 - Bread and Butter Writing with Paula 

Stalk me online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review: American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and a new short story

American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and a new short story American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and a new short story by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I kept hearing about the first novella in this collection, River of Teeth, last year but just finally got to it in this grouping.

The backbone of these two novellas and two short stories ("Winslow's Problem" and "Nine and a Half") is an idea that never happened, but almost happened in the United States - hippopotamus ranching. It was originally proposed to Congress as a solution for meat production and to also cut down on the water hyacinth that was clogging waterways. It sounds crazy, but that's the alternate history world setting the scene for American Hippo. Instead of riding in on horses, the villains (who are kind of the heros) and the law enforcement ride in on... a water hippo. Yep. Instead of barns there are lakes, and different types of hippos have been bred for different purposes (speed, meat, etc.)

So the alternative history setting is unique and fun in itself, but Gailey really shines in her interesting characters. One character named Hero is genderqueer, but that's not the main point, they play an important role in the murdering sprees because of their poisoning knowledge. One character is obese (at one point worries about not fitting in a chair) but is also a skilled assassin and thief. One character is pregnant in one novella and a mother in another, but doesn't necessarily want to stop killing; it's her passion.

My only quibble is that two characters have names that start with the letter A and I kept mixing them up, so I do wish that had been a bit different.

But overall I laughed a lot, sometimes because of humor, but more often because it's so ridiculous and silly (it reads like a hippo western) that it just made me very happy. It's a pleasure to read, and an escape of sorts.

Thanks to the publisher who provided access to this title through Edelweiss. It came out May 22, 2018.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Reading Envy 119: Bread and Butter Writing

Paula, known as Centique in Litsy, joins me from New Zealand to talk books. Paula tends to read backlisted titles, because she is devoted to her TBR list. We talk translations, gloomy books, and cuteness.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 119: Bread and Butter Writing.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
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Or listen through TuneIn
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Listen via Stitcher


Books Discussed:



Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Land of Love and Ruins by Oddny Eir
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz

Other Mentions: 

Blackout by Connie Willis
All Clear by Connie Willis
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Hugo Awards
Nebula Awards
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Top Chef (tv show)
The Mind of a Chef (tv show)
Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Tournament of Books
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Paula is @centique on Litsy